Dietary cholesterol reverses resistance to diet-induced weight gain in mice lacking Niemann-Pick C1-Like 1

Lin Jia, Yinyan Ma, George Liu, Liqing Yu

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Niemann-Pick C1-Like 1 (NPC1L1) mediates intestinal cholesterol absorption. NPC1L1 knockout (L1-KO) mice were recently shown to be resistant to high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity in one study, which was contrary to several other studies. Careful comparison of dietary compositions in these studies implies a potential role of dietary cholesterol in regulating weight gain. To examine this potential, wild-type (WT) and L1-KO mice were fed one of three sets of diets for various durations: (1) a HFD without added cholesterol for 5 weeks; (2) a high-carbohydrate diet with or without added cholesterol for 5 weeks; or (3) a synthetic HFD with or without added cholesterol for 18 weeks. We found that L1-KO mice were protected against diet-induced weight gain only on a diet without added cholesterol but not on a diet containing 0.16% or 0.2% (w/w) cholesterol, an amount similar to a typical Western diet, regardless of the major energy source of the diet. Food intake and intestinal fat absorption were similar between the two genotypes. Intestinal cholesterol absorption was blocked, and fecal cholesterol excretion increased in L1-KO mice. Under all diets, L1-KO mice were protected from hepatosteatosis. In conclusion, increasing dietary cholesterol restores diet-induced weight gain in mice deficient in NPC1L1-dependent cholesterol absorption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3024-3033
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of lipid research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2010



  • Ezetimibe
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Insulin resistance
  • Intestinal fat absorption
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology

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